over·​gen·​er·​al·​ize | \ ˌō-vər-ˈjen-rə-ˌlīz How to pronounce overgeneralize (audio) , -ˈje-nə- \
overgeneralized; overgeneralizing

Definition of overgeneralize

: to generalize excessively: such as
a intransitive : to make excessively vague or general statements about something or someone Of course, I am guilty here of grossly overgeneralizing, of caricaturing.— Peter Oliver
b transitive + intransitive : to generalize to the point of inaccuracy : to extrapolate a general theory, rule, etc. from too few facts or particulars overgeneralizes from the results of a limited study Since the needs of a low vision person and of a blind person can be very different, it is important not to overgeneralize the nature of visual impairment.— Roberto Manduchi and James Coughlan
c intransitive : to apply a rule of language too broadly At a certain stage of language growth, children characteristically overgeneralize: They say sleeped instead of slept, brang (on the analogy of sang) instead of brought, and so forth.— Noam Chomsky

Other Words from overgeneralize

overgeneralization \ ˌō-​vər-​ˌjen-​rə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce overgeneralize (audio) , -​ˌje-​nə-​ \ noun, plural overgeneralizations
… indulge in overgeneralization from fuzzy facts, or when facts are missing. — Hy Ruchlis … stereotypical overgeneralizations about the sexes … — Nadine Taub and Elizabeth M. Schneider

First Known Use of overgeneralize

1851, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of overgeneralize was in 1851

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Cite this Entry

“Overgeneralize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overgeneralize. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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